Edward Coey

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Sir Edward Coey (March 1805- 26 June 1887) was a 19th Century entrepreneur and philanthropist from Larne in County Antrim. He helped fund the establishment of Larne Grammar School in his town of birth, and was mayor of Belfast.

Coey was born in Larne, and commenced work as an apprentice butcher. He started to build his own business, and became the proprietor of the 'Northern Shoe & Boot House' in Belfast, with his brother James. After a short period working in the USA, Coey established a provisions and curing business in the dockland district of Belfast in 1841, called Coey & Co.[1] This business was very successful, and led to Coey developing his business interests including property in Belfast, London, Liverpool and in the United States.

Coey represented the St George's Ward in Belfast as a councillor, and in 1861 became the first and only Liberal to serve as Mayor of Belfast. He was knighted in the same year in recognition of his public works, and in 1867 was appointed Deputy Lieutenant and High Sheriff of County Antrim. He was also a Borough Magistrate in Belfast, member of the Grand Jury and Belfast Harbour Commissioners, and in July 1869, was one of the eight founding subscribers of the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

He is remembered for his philanthropic work, the most notable of which was his donation to establish, together with John Crawford, a grammar school in his home town of Larne, which was opened as Larne Grammar School in 1886. However, Coey's philanthropic work was much more widespread than this. He was a donor to causes as varied as the Belfast Charitable Society, the Presbyterian Orphan Society, and the Presbyterian Sabbath School. He was Patron of the Belfast Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the Belfast Sailors Home, and the Malone Protestant Reformatory, a life Governor of the Belfast Royal Hospital, a Governor of the Belfast District Hospital for the Insane Poor, and Belfast Ophthalmic Hospital.

On 18 November 2006, the Ulster History Circle unveiled a blue plaque[2] in his honour at his former home, Merville House, in Merville Garden Village, where he died on 27 June 1887.[3]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Orange Order biography of Coey
  2. ^ Ulster History Circle unveils blue plaque at Merville House
  3. ^ Merville House history including death of Coey